As one of the originals of Seattle’s difficult opening season, Jordan Eberle found himself joking with some of his teammates about Game 4 against the defending Stanley Cup champions being the biggest game to date in the game’s brief history. Kraken.
It will always be memorable for the Kraken. First playoff game in overtime. First playoff win in overtime. And an unexpectedly tied series returned to Denver.
Eberle scored on the power play 3 minutes into overtime and the Seattle Kraken beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Monday night to even their best-of-7 series at 2-2.
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Eberle picked up a deflection and buried his first goal of the playoffs past Colorado goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Seattle was on the power play after Josh Manson was penalized for tripping Jaden Schwartz in a breakaway attempt early in overtime.
«We’ve been a bit of a loser since day one and we’re just trying to hold our own in this series,» Eberle said. «We still have a lot of work ahead of us.»
Seattle’s first playoff overtime victory ensured that at least one more home game would be played this season for the Kraken.
But the Kraken will be shorthanded for Game 5 after Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said leading scorer Jared McCann will not play in Denver. McCann was injured on a questionable hit by Colorado’s Cale Makar midway through the first period.
«Late hit, really late, with no puck in play. Our 40-goal scorer is unavailable for the remainder of the game and will not be available in the future here,» Hakstol said.
Will Borgen and Daniel Sprong scored in the first period to give Seattle a 2-0 lead. Mikko Rantanen scored twice in the second period to tie Colorado up.
Rantanen now has five goals in four games, but the rest of the Colorado stars were kept in check.
«You knew it was going to get tougher and tougher as the series goes on. Space is going to be less available and you have to earn every inch of ice,» Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. «We didn’t do a good enough job early in the hockey game taking care of our side of the ice.»
MAPLE LEAFS ACHIEVES IMPRESSIVE GAME 4 COMEBACK, ALEXANDER KERFOOT POTS OVERTIME WINNER
Seattle dominated the game in the offensive zone most of the night, outshooting Colorado 43-22. But after taking a 2-0 lead, Kraken was unable to extend his lead thanks in large part to Georgiev. The Colorado goalie made 39 saves and kept the Avalanche from being overrun in the first quarter.
But in the extra session, Manson’s penalty at 1:59 gave the Kraken a chance to end their overtime debut quickly. Schwartz had his shot blocked in front of the net, but he landed on Eberle’s stick and didn’t miss the open net after being held in check for most of the drive.
«It happened fast. I can’t really remember before that, but obviously it was very exciting,» Schwartz said.
Seattle goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 20 saves and came when needed in the third quarter with a pair of key stops to deny Colorado a comeback victory.
For the second time in the series, Seattle was unable to hold a 2-0 lead into the first period.
Rantanen scored his first in a three-on-two run hosted by Nathan MacKinnon. His second came in the dying seconds of Colorado’s first power play of the game, firing through a screen and past Grubauer with 2 seconds left on the man. advantage. It was Colorado’s first power play goal in 15 chances against Seattle, regular and postseason combined.
McCann was hurt on a shorthanded attempt midway through the first period. The shot was saved by Georgiev and seemed to go into the net behind the goal. McCann did not appear to be prepared for Makar’s coup.
McCann was on the ice for several minutes before being helped onto the bench and back directly into the Seattle locker room.
Makar was originally given a 5-minute major penalty, but it was reduced to a 2-minute minor.
Makar said it was «unfortunate» and hoped McCann was okay.
«It was a hockey play. I’m assuming he was headed for the corner because he was falling. I didn’t really look. It’s unfortunate how that happened,» Makar said.
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FIRST ON THE BOARD
Seattle became only the second team in playoff history to score first in each of its first four games. The 1918 Toronto Arenas, forerunners of the Maple Leafs, scored first in both games of the NHL Finals against Montreal and then scored the first goal in each of the first three games of the Best of Stanley Cup Finals. 5 against the Vancouver Millionaires.